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Build Better LA Initiative Is a Seriously Flawed Measure that Boosts City Hall’s Powers

In Archive by Preserve LA

The Build Better L.A. ballot measure, which will encourage several HUNDRED new skyscrapers and luxury towers in Los Angeles under the guise of adding affordable housing, will be put before voters in November by the L.A. City Council. The Coalition to Preserve L.A. is strongly opposed to this troubling initiative.

The BBLA measure will dramatically boost the City Council’s powers to approve “spot-zoning” overdevelopment in L.A. neighborhoods while individual Council members and the mayor continue to receive huge amounts of campaign cash from those same developers.

This practice of spot zoning severely bends the city’s protective zoning rules to favor developers over communities. That’s a recipe for even more soft corruption at City Hall — since 2000, L.A. politicians have taken at least $6 million from the real estate industry. In the most recent quarter reported by the city’s Ethics Commission, developers spent a large portion of the $14 million that went to lobbyists.

The initiative comes with disastrous flaws that will pave over L.A.’s communities:

— It sets up a series of trap doors that lets the City Council approve massive new projects without any plan for traffic or infrastructure;

— The promised affordable housing can later be slashed during a highly politicized City Council vote sought by the very developers who give the City Council money. If the Council agrees that the developer won’t make enough profit by housing the poor, they can jettison the affordable units;

— BBLA is “spot zoning” on steroids, handing the unqualified 15 elected council members the job of real estate czars and pushing communities almost entirely out of the neighborhood planning process, a fundamental right.

Coalition to Preserve L.A. campaign director Jill Stewart says, “BBLA was crafted by major City Hall power brokers as a counter measure to our badly needed reform of land-use and zoning abuse by the City Council and developers. They are paving over L.A., and this is a blank check to ramp up that process. It will enrich developers by letting them build much bigger luxury buildings and drive up rental prices and displace thousands of people. It will never resolve the city’s affordable housing crisis.”

BBLA is not the answer to L.A.’s overdevelopment woes.

It’s certainly not a reform measure that will fix the city’s broken planning and land-use system, which the Los Angeles Times, Mayor Eric Garcetti and local neighborhood groups agree needs a major overhaul.

We need true reform, and that’s what the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative provides.

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